Nelson Mandela Day: Living the Legacy by Kgomotso Mopalami

DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS – Be Prepared by Ivan Israelstam
July 11, 2019
Reasons for the gender pay gap – what HR practitioners should know by Prof. Anita Bosch
August 7, 2019

That time of the year is here again, and one wonders if the flame for Madiba’s legacy is kept radiant. The 67 minutes once a year is symbolic to our icon, however, the legacy that he left behind remains in the minds of many and it can only be meaningful when it is kept buoyant.  It is thus imperative that we constantly remind ourselves of the change that Nelson Mandela brought to this country and to the world. He dared to die for what was right and he lived to his word.  As South African citizens and HR Society, are we living our values? Are we a change that organisations look up to? Are we fulfilling our duty to the society? How will we be remembered in the world of work? A time to reflect and re-live our values-Integrity, Respect, Competency and Responsibility. Find the Nelson Mandela within you and be the legacy he left in the world (Nelson Mandela Foundation-Sello Hatang). 

There are famous quotes of Nelson Mandela that we can look at and reflect back on, as we build this legacy within the Profession, for South Africans and as stalwarts of leadership, for “ real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people” (Nelson Mandela).

On being remembered

There will be life after Mandela. On my last day I want to know that those who remain behind will say: ‘The man who lies here has done his duty for his country and his people.'” 

The fourth pillar of professionalism is ‘duty to society’.  As an HR Professional, it is imperative that you impact the society with the knowledge, skills and expertise needed, to bring that change.  New skills are vital in the 4th Industrial Revolution and HR is at the heart of mastering this area to ensure that humans remain relevant in the workplace.  

On his legacy

“It would be very egotistical of me to say how I would like to be remembered. I’d leave that entirely to South Africans. I would just like a simple stone on which is written ‘Mandela’.” 

I leave you with some food for thought here; ask yourself these questions: “How would I like to be remembered?”; “How would I like the HR Profession to look like”? “Am I adding value to this profession and to the world”?  What legacy will you leave? (I would really like to engage with members on this one, looking forward to your thoughts on linked-in-SABPP).

Are you undertaking your duty? If you lost foresight, are you back in business? Are you withholding the knowledge or sharing it with others, it can be through articles, participating in SABPP committees, position papers, book reviews, conferences, workshops? Are you an active member who wants to bring change? I want to believe that you dare to learn and to impart!

On a meaningful life

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” 
(May 2002)

  • Be proactive
  • Team up with other professionals and build a nation that is full of knowledge
  • Be available
  • Share new ideas
  • Innovate
  • Participate in valuable discussions
  • Ensure the nation that AI and machines will not make them disintegrate; bring hope; and communicate new skills
  • Be a role model in ethics and the profession
  • Spread the message of professionalism

On integrity

“Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.” 
(July 2003)

The second pillar of professionalism is ethics. There is a need to remain a true leader even in difficult ethical situations.  As morality governs private, personal interactions, ethics govern behaviour and actions based on set of principles or standards; and committing toensure that you meet agreed expectations of the people you serve.

Finally, as an obligation to code of conduct on integrity, remind yourself that:

  • I understand that my effectiveness as a credible activist HR practitioner rests on my personal integrity.
  • I commit to build trust through acting with:
  • Honesty
  • Objectivity
  • Fairness of judgement
  • Consistency of action.
  • I commit to declare and address actual and potential conflicts of interest as they arise in my professional and personal capacity.

On success

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and   passionate about what they do.” 
(December 2009 – Letter to cricketer Makhaya Ntini)

Are you passionate about your profession, role and responsibilities? We call on you to develop and bring the change South Africa and the world need; make a difference!

On personal weakness

“That was one of the things that worried me – to be raised to the position of a semi-god – because then you are no longer a human being. I wanted to be known as Mandela, a man with weaknesses, some of which are fundamental, and a man who is committed, but nevertheless, sometimes he fails to live up to expectations.” Nelson Mandela